Door County Medical Center’s Memory Care Program offers dynamic memory-related services to patients, families, caregivers, and our community. The goal of this mobile program is to increase access to early and comprehensive diagnosis, education, and support to the greater Door County community.
The Memory Care Program is coordinated by Dementia Specialist Christy Wisniewski, who also has certification in gerontology and care management. Christy integrates her efforts with DCMC’s Memory Care team of specialists, as well organizations outside of the hospital to bring a team approach to service. “I enjoy brainstorming with others to develop innovative ways to increase awareness and meet the needs of our community,” says Christy,” Scandia Village, United Methodist Church, Door County YMCA and ADRC of Door County are just a few of the organizations we work with.”
One of the collaborative opportunities offered with the YMCA is the brain enhancement program M.IN.D (Memory in Development), a free workshop which gives people coping with an early dementia-related diagnosis or mild memory concerns an opportunity to "do something about it."
M.IN.D. is a six week, research-driven exercise and caregiver support workshop which empowers participants and caregivers through access to education, strategies and support in a socially enriching atmosphere. The program was revamped in early 2018 to increase physical exercise opportunities.
“Research has emphasized the significance of physical exercise for brain health, regardless of age or dementia diagnosis,” says Christy Wisniewski, “pre and post fitness testing was conducted with our previous 14 participants, with 13 of 14 maintaining or improving in their test outcomes after 6 weeks of participation.”
Other collaborative Memory Care Programs include Door County Memory Café and Early Dementia Support Group. The Memory Café, offered at United Methodist Church and at Scandia Village Good Samaritan, creates a comfortable, social experience for individuals with memory loss to interact socially with friends, family and caregivers without fear of embarrassment over memory blunders. Early Dementia Support Group, on the other hand, invites those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or related dementia in the early or mild stage to share their experience and learn from each other. A separate group for caregivers is offered consecutively and led by a care managers.
The Memory Care Program also partners with local organizations and volunteers to offer the Virtual Dementia Tour, a powerful hands-on simulation developed by Second Wind Dreams, in which participants gain intimate understanding of behaviors associated with dementia and how they can improve their own responses. In addition to educating the community at large, the Memory Care Program facilitates specific educational workshops including “Powerful Tools for Caregivers” and “Living Well with Chronic Conditions”.
As Door County’s vibrant aging population becomes more engaged in conversation about memory with their primary care providers, referrals to DCMC’s Memory Care clinic have become younger and more complex with medical and psychosocial needs. It is important to understand that memory loss isn’t always associated with age, and that one is never too young to begin a brain healthy lifestyle.
If you or a loved would like an evaluation of memory concerns, or would like to participate in Memory Care Program, please contact Christy Wisniewski at (920) 746-3504. A full overview of Memory Care Program, including Virtual Dementia Tour and Dementia Capable Community, can be found here.